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2014-06-20    来源:向Anne提问    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


Dear Annie: I've never seen this problem addressed in your column, but I can't be the only one struggling with it. About six months ago, I got this great new job leading a team of 18 software developers and designers, and everything's going great, with one exception. One of our most talented people is also the most difficult and unpredictable. He has terrific ideas and often comes up with elegant solutions to challenges that have other people tearing their hair out. He's also the brain behind two of our biggest hit products.

However, he's not at all interested in project deadlines, he's dismissive of other people's ideas, and he's so absorbed in his own work that he misses a lot of meetings, so he's never quite up to speed with the details of what's going on. I want to keep him here (he's already changed jobs four times in eight years, and I know for a fact he gets other offers all the time), but his prima donna act is bad for the whole team. How can I get him to play well with others? — Baffled Boss

Dear Baffled: Ah. Sounds like a textbook example of what executive coach Katherine Graham Leviss calls a high-maintenance high-performance (or HMHP) employee. "These people tend to be visionary, big-picture thinkers. They're independent producers, and they're very driven, but they're not process-oriented. They're focused on results," she says. "Once they have a mental image of the outcome they want, they go after it without regard to how what they're doing affects teammates."

Leviss runs XBInsight, a coaching firm that specializes in taming HMHPs for Fortune 500companies and the National Football League. The company has developed a proprietary tool for assessing where and how employees' (and managers') behavior can improve. Leviss also wrote a book you might want to check out called High-Maintenance Employees: Why Your Best People Will Also Be Your Most Difficult…and What to Do About It.
里维斯经营着一家职场辅导公司XBInsight,主要业务便是为《财富》500强公司(Fortune 500)和美国国家橄榄球联盟(National Football League,NFL)驯服那些桀骜不驯的高效能员工。这家公司开发了一款专有工具,用来评估员工(和管理者)的哪些行为需要改进,如何改进。此外,里维斯还出版过的一本书——《如何驾驭桀骜不驯的员工》(High-Maintenance Employees: Why Your Best People Will Also Be Your Most Difficult…and What to Do About It),或许对你会有所帮助。

"HMHPs are tremendously valuable if properly managed," Leviss says. "And luckily, they're highly coachable. One thing this personality type can't stand is feeling out of control. So once you create an awareness of the problems an HMHP's behavior is causing, he or she is likely to feel a sense of urgency about getting back on top."
How do you do that?

1. Set up consistent processes and guidelines. "If there's no process in place, HMHPs will create their own," says Leviss -- and that can lead to chaos. But don't let an HMHP determine what the process is going to be, even though he or she will probably try. Instead, assign designing the structure of a project, including deadlines, to "more methodical, step-by-step team members who are good at that."

2. Assign them tasks they can "own." This is largely a matter of turning an HMHP's outsized ego to your, and the rest of the team's, advantage. Since these are people who want to put their own stamp on their work -- and since "they're usually highly technically proficient," Leviss notes -- put them in charge of the part of each project where they can shine the brightest.
2. 向恃才傲物的员工分配他们可以自由支配的任务。这样可以将这类员工超级自负的性格转变成整个团队的优势。里维斯表示,因为这类员工希望在工作中打上自己的烙印,并且“他们通常都是技术达人”,所以,每一个项目中,凡是能够让他们发挥最大潜力的部分,都可以放手交给他们全权负责。

To bring out an HMHP's best performance, Leviss says, make it about him. "Instead of saying, 'The team has to get to X result by such-and-such a date,' focus on his part of it: 'In order for the team to get to X, you have to produce Y.'" Then stand back. "It's usually pointless to tell an HMHP how to get there," says Leviss. "He or she will just try to find a better way, and they usually can."

3. Make your expectations clear.Sit down with your HMHP for a frank discussion of exactly what isn't working, and don't hesitate to be blunt about it. "You don't need to 'sandwich' your remarks with praise, as you might with other employees, because HMHPs already know they're extremely talented," Graham Leviss says. "So get right to the point: 'Here's how what you're doing -- skipping team meetings, for instance -- affects everybody else, and here's what I need you to start doing instead.'
3. 明确期望值。坐下来和恃才傲物的员工开诚布公地谈一谈,到底哪里出现了问题,不必担心太过直接。格雷厄姆•里维斯说:“不用像对待其他员工那样‘斟词酌句’,用好话来做铺垫,因为这类员工们非常清楚自己的价值。所以不妨开门见山地说:‘这是你的行为对团队其他人的影响,比如不参加团队会议,我需要你从现在开始做到这些事情。’”

"We do this kind of coaching with NFL trainers" who must turn star players into responsible team members, she adds: "It takes a little while for new habits to form, but hold people accountable and remind them of the changes you've said you want to see."

4. Provide as many learning opportunities as you can.High-performance employees get bored more easily than others (which helps explain why they tend to change jobs so often). They also "like to feel that they're on top of the latest, newest, hottest" trends in their field, Leviss notes. So be on the lookout for cutting-edge training, interesting conferences, and other learning experiences you can offer your HMHP. Whatever the cost, it's lower than the price of replacing him.
4. 提供尽可能多的学习机会。恃才傲物的员工比其他人更容易对工作感到厌烦(这也解释了为何他们会如此频繁地更换工作)。而且,里维斯发现,这类员工很喜欢“自己是所在领域最新、最热潮流引领者”的感觉。所以,留意最前沿的培训、有趣的会议和其他学习机会,提供给这类员工。这些机会不论成本多高,肯定低于招聘新人的代价。

5. Keep the challenges coming.Leviss, a self-confessed HMHP, writes in her book that, having changed jobs six times by age 30, she had an epiphany: "I loved my job when I was working on new projects or new problems…. It was the thrill of something new that kept me going…. Most high-maintenance employees are unhappy when a project is over and they don't have another one in sight."
5. 不断给他们提供新的挑战。里维斯承认自己也是一名有本事、有脾气的员工。她在书中写道,自己在30岁之前曾经换过六份工作,有朝一日却突然醒悟:“当我参与新项目或遇到新问题的时候,我对工作便充满了热爱……促使我不断前进的,是新事物带来的刺激……大多数桀骜不驯的员工在一个项目结束,而另一个项目却仍杳无音讯的时候,会感到怅然若失,情绪低落。”

This eventually motivated her to start her own company, but you probably don't want your HMHP to do that in this case -- so make sure he never runs out of fresh puzzles to solve. A definite upside of having HMHPs around: One of their defining characteristics is that they don't know the meaning of the word "overwork."

Good luck.

Talkback:Have you ever worked with, or tried to manage, an HMHP? Do you think you are one? Leave a comment below.

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